MoneyWisdom Blog

Dress your child for lots less

Posted by Hanscom Federal Credit Union on Oct 23, 2015, 7:00:00 AM

Dress your child for lessKid’s clothes can cost a bundle – especially as they continue to grow out of items faster than your budget allows. According to a 2007 study, lower-income families spend up to $336 per year infants and toddlers and $624 on teens, while upper-class families allocated $528 per year on infant and toddler clothing, and $936 to teen clothing. Overall, Americans are spending about $2,000 – or 3.8% of their household income – on clothing. That’s a lot of dough for clothes.

How do you keep your growing kids well dressed through all the seasons, without spending too much money – or worse – racking up the credit card with expensive clothing purchases? You’ve got to get creative. Here are some ideas that can help you trim the cost of clothing for your child, no matter what the age: 

Buy gently used clothes.

There are a lot of sources for second-hand clothing, both in brick and mortar stores and online. Online resources for used or deeply discounted new clothing include thredup.com and eBay. Craigslist may even offer unwanted items for free – it’s worth a look. 

Go gender-neutral.

This strategy works well for the baby-to-newborn group, but even older kids can share some items like shoes, socks, t-shirts and winter coats. 

Buy bigger.

Your child is going to grow – that’s a given. If you can, buy items a little on the large side, so that they have plenty of time to use them. This is an especially great strategy for expensive items like outdoor clothing. 

Pass it down and around.

If you’ve got more than one kid, keep in mind what can be passed down when you are shopping. Paying a little more for higher quality is worth it, if it will last for two kids. Consider hosting a neighborhood or friends clothing swap, and take advantage of other kids’ outgrown duds. 

Give and get clothing for gifts.

This is a great strategy not only for newborns, but for teens as well. According to Penny Hoarder blogger Brianna Bell, it may seem tacky, but the reality is that kids need clothes, so asking for them for birthday or holiday gifts is a smart strategy. 

Borrow for those special occasions.

Does you child need a jacket for the holiday performance? Your teen need a suit for a wedding that you know he’ll never wear again? Reach out to your friends – whether by email or social media – and see who has what special item in their closet. 

Go to garage sales.

While it may be a bit hit or miss, there are lots of great kids clothing items to be found at garage sales. You can do some research upfront by checking out sites such as Garage Sales Tracker or Yard Sale Search, which may list what types of items are for sale. 

Cut down on clothes.

Even with all these strategies, you will likely find that the 80/20 rule applies to your children’s clothes as well as your own. Don’t be tempted to buy clothes – even if they are a great deal – if your child won’t wear them, or if they don’t fit correctly. Your child can do with a lot less clothes than he/she currently has in the closet. 

Sell your own stuff.

Whether it’s to a consignment store, on eBay, or at your own garage sale, consider selling the clothes that no longer fit to make a bit of cash and some room for the next items your child will need. 

These are just a few ideas on how you can save big bucks on your little one’s clothing needs. Have an idea you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Please share it in the comments below. 

To help you manage your finances and recognize areas of spending that may be frittering away your money, we have a free workbook that you can download right now. The Money Management Planner is a step-by-step guide to help you organize your spending and strategize your savings.

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Topics: Savings, children

Trish_ReskeTrish Reske is an award-winning writer and freelance marketing professional from Westborough, MA. She is married to an awesome dad of their four teenage-to-grown children.
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